When we come to our home in Kaabong, from our home in Ikland, we are usually in need of some privacy and down-time. Ikland is now the frontier, and Kaabong the base camp. We are pouring our people energies into the Ik and often feel like we have little left over for the Karamojongs in Kaabong. Right or wrong, that’s just the way it seems.
Yesterday was one of those days when we came down to Kaabong. Visitors came with all their requests. One man alone asked for medicine, batteries, phone charging, a job for his nephew, and food. A neighbor came at 8 am complaining that his child was sick. Okay, I thought, sorry for you. I mean, we get that all the time. What are we supposed to do about it? Take the child to the hospital. It’s only two miles away. Then the mother came two hours later with the same complaint. We gave the same answer. They delayed. The father kept working in the field. So did the mother. Noon rolls around, and they’re back in on our porch, stubbornly asking that we give medicine. We stood our ground. After all, we stopped holding clinics here in Kaabong since last year. We occasionally give medicine to our employees, but these people aren’t our employees. We’re trying to set boundaries. We’re trying not to promote unhealthy dependence. We’re being strong.
This morning we find out that the sick child died last night. The child of our neighbors and friends. The same toddler we took out to eat at a restaurant last month, probably his first time in a restaurant. That child is gone. Gone forever.
Should we have done more? Could we have prevented this? Are we morally responsible? Will they blame us? These are the kinds of questions that first assail us.
We know we can’t take on this responsibility. It would be too much to bear, and we wouldn’t be able to stay here much longer. But it still hurts. The 'what ifs' hurt. Sickness, death, and sadness hurt. Pray for us.